Conservatives in Brooklyn: Alive & well, representing key corners of borough
Brooklyn Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar has his finger on the pulse of Brooklyn politics. As State Sen. Marty Golden’s chief of staff, Kassar has risen to the top of the Conservative ranks in the borough and works closely with state Conservative Party Chairman Michael Long. He also interacts frequently with state Sen. Marty Golden and Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis.
Kassar, a resident of Dyker Heights, is one of those rare politicos who is highly respected by members of all political parties. Kassar took the time to answer some questions for the Brooklyn Eagle, regarding the state of the Conservative Party in Brooklyn today and the voter breakdown throughout the borough. He also addressed some hot topic issues from the Conservative point of view, while offering his own personal thoughts on other matters that pertain to Brooklyn.
Brooklyn Eagle: What is the state of the Conservative Party in Brooklyn today?
Jerry Kassar: The Brooklyn Conservative Party is doing quite well. We are running candidates in almost all congressional, State Senate and Assembly seats and we have re-nominated incumbent legislators U.S. Rep. Dan Donovan, state Sens. Marty Golden and Simcha Felder and Assemblymembers Nicole Malliotakis and Dov Hikind. And we have nominated Wendy Long for U.S. Senate and Donald Trump for president.
Eagle: How closely do you work with Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long and Sen. Marty Golden?
Kassar: I am Mike Long’s vice chairman and I am Marty Golden’s chief of staff, so, needless to say, myself and the Brooklyn Party work very closely with both of them.
Eagle: What are the specific differences between the Conservative and Republican parties as you see them?
JK: The Conservative Party tends to place more emphasis on social issues, such as being pro-life or traditional marriage, than the Republican Party. And the Conservative Party, needless to say, would not have a liberal wing, which the Republican Party has to varying degrees in the various counties around the state.
Eagle: What is the political makeup of Brooklyn? What is the most Conservative neighborhood in the borough?
JK: Brooklyn, as I suspect all your readers would acknowledge, is mostly Democratic and liberal. Having said that, the Conservative Party does exceptionally well in Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Marine Park, Windsor Terrace, Gerritsen Beach and Borough Park.
Eagle: Please address some issues that the Conservative and Republican parties are facing right now.
JK: Domestically, jobs and the economy are the major issues, followed closely by illegal immigration. Illicit drug use and sales are once again also becoming a major concern. Internationally, the major issue is terrorism and all things Middle East, which has become a tinder box that can burn and, when ignited, can burn the world.
Eagle: In the Conservative Party, do you believe you can move people over once they clearly understand your side of the issues?
JK: We do move people over when we have a candidate, or candidates, who can articulate our party’s positions. In fact, we have seen the vote for such candidates double and triple our normal vote.
Eagle: The notion of bigger government solving all the problems is the opposite view of the Conservative Party. You believe that less is more; that’s less government, correct?
JK: We believe that large government restricts our individual freedoms and damages our sense of personal responsibility, not to mention it eats up our tax dollars. For those reasons, we support smaller government.
Eagle: Which presidents have most closely adhered to the Conservative platform?
JK: In recent times, that president would be Ronald Reagan. Going back a few years, Calvin Coolidge would be a good example.
Eagle: You were one of the first people to endorse Marco Rubio for president. What drew you to Rubio in the first place?
JK: I felt that Marco Rubio could articulate a modern Conservative message that would help bring more non-traditional Conservative voters into the mix. I also liked his youth and energy. And in the final analysis, I thought he had an excellent chance of winning in November.
Eagle: What are your thoughts now about Trump and the upcoming election? What do you think of his campaign so far?
JK: I support Trump, and I hope everyone reading this piece does too. Hillary Clinton represents four more years of policies that many Americans strongly oppose. And there are immense questions hovering around so many of Mrs. Clinton’s activities, ranging from the family foundation to the e-mails and her handling of Benghazi. Donald Trump, on the other hand, has a proven track record of getting things done and clearly has different views from Mrs. Clinton on immigration, the economy and terrorism.
Eagle: You’ve said that this is a “right of center” country. Please explain.
JK: The Congress, most governorships and most State Legislatures are controlled by Conservative-Republicans. That is better than any poll in confirming that the country is right of center.
Eagle: You have a very good relationship with New York State Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, a Republican. What makes her such a strong representative for her district?
JK: Nicole has the right positions on issues, the ability to communicate those positions and the focus to bring those issues to the attention of the public and the state government. In fact, she made her mark early in Albany by becoming an outspoken critic of the Dream Act, which would provide a taxpayer-supported higher education for illegal aliens. Additionally, she understands the value of good constituent services and has become a constant presence among her constituents in her two-county district.
Eagle: Thanks, Jerry. Any final thoughts on the Brooklyn Conservative Party?
JK: The Brooklyn Conservative Party has events all year long. There is a club named the Brooklyn South Conservative Club that meets monthly, usually with a speaker. We are located at 486 78th St. The Brooklyn Conservative Party and the club can be reached at 718 921-2158. We also have a blog that can be found at brooklynconservativeparty.com and on Facebook and Twitter.
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